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A Community Treasure: Featuring Coolidge Corner Theatre

By Kristen Bosse

Take a walk down the city streets and you might stumble upon McDonalds, Bank of America, Boston Sports Club, and many other chain establishments. Mom and pop joints striving to cater to the local crowd seem to be dying off one by one. In an age where huge corporations keeping up with the latest trends seem to dominate every market, how do local, independent businesses survive? Coolidge Corner Theatre seems to have solved this provoking question, keeping their doors open from more than eighty years. Located in the heart of Brookline, the theater is New England's most successful independent, not-for-profit cinema ever. In its years open, the theater has managed to transform itself from a down-at-heel but beloved experimental arts venue to a stable, prosperous, and highly valued institution in the community.

Independent, Classic, Foreign, and Everything In-between

One of the best things about the Coolidge Corner Theatre is their ability to screen new films, as well as foreign films, documentaries, independent films, and much more. Classics can be seen the way they are meant to be seen, larger than life on the big screen in their "Big Screen Classics" series. Their "After Midnite" programming features screenings of horrifying, weird, tripped out films. Current films in this series include "The Satanic Rites of Dracula" and "A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night". Those interested in dance can come enjoy performances from the world's greatest dance companies broadcasted on the big screen in their "Dance at the Cinema" series.

Bianca Costello, Marketing & Outreach Coordinator for the theatre, was kind enough to grant us with an interview about her business. She described the theatre as an establishment that has increased the quality of life and vibrancy of Coolidge Corner for Brookline residents. When asked about the most popular program offered, she gave us great information about their "Science on Screen" series.

"Science on Screen℠ creatively pairs screenings of classic, cult, and documentary films with lively introductions by notable figures from the world of science, technology, and medicine. Each film is used as a jumping off point for the speaker to reveal current scientific research or technological advances, providing the perfect combination of entertainment and enlightenment - even for the most science-phobic culture vulture!"

One of the most unique series offered at the theater is the "Artists for Alzheimer's" interactive film program. This one-of-a-kind film experience is designed specifically for people with memory loss and their caretakers. Short clips from classic films will be shown, followed by audience discussion and reminiscence, guided by a moderator. It is believed that cinema has the power to connect us to deep emotional memories- the kind that can never be forgotten. In this way, the program is seen as a form of treatment for the people attending.

Building a Connected, Diverse Community

Any long time resident of Brookline would surely describe the Coolidge as not just a movie theater, but a community treasure. Film has the power to take a group of people with various backgrounds, and give them something that they can all enjoy simultaneously. Colleagues that know absolutely nothing about each other can watch a classic movie, and suddenly find themselves laughing and reminiscing about their individual memories. In this way, it helps connects the residents of Brookline and Greater Boston each time they take a visit.

"The community has unique Coolidge stories on why the theatre is important to them whether it be they just moved to the area and this is where they felt at home or they had parents that grew up going to the theatre or had their first date", says Costello. The Coolidge is without a doubt a theatre that holds many memories, and has the ability to create new, unique memories for each visitor. In 1989, the theatre was in jeopardy of being shut down and bulldozed. Over 400 residents came to "hug" the entire surroundings of the theatre, demonstrating their support and love. For Brookline, it is more than just a theater. It is part of their town's identity.

The mission of the not-for-profit Coolidge Corner Theatre is to entertain, inform, and engage- building a vital community through film culture. Its wide array of film genres and palpable charm will guarantee its relevance in the community for years to come.

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Kristen has written impressive content including press releases and feature stories...

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